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Trust, truth, transparency:

Corporate Relations in the Web 2.0 world

Leeds Metropolitan University Lecture, 20 November 2006

First thoughts: new media and YOU


"My belief is that ... the axis of communication has swung through 90 degrees - it is not what we say about ourselves that matters but how good we are at influencing the conversation that swirls around us, our products and our services."

Source: Philip Young, University of Sunderland



"The use of communication technology is ubiquitous in contemporary public relations practice, and often there's no choice but to adopt the newest communication technology."

Source: The Professional Bond - Public Relations Education and Practice, November 2006


Monday 6 November 2006

Hi Richard,

I head up the digital division of Brahm and have worked recently with Jasmine Headley (Leeds Met PR graduate, class of 2006), and was very impressed with her level of digital knowledge and hoped you might have more people like her who you could recommend. We are currently looking to employ a new content assistant. It will involve creating content, identifying keywords, producing content structures for sites, researching content, rewriting content, writing blogs. They will be working alongside our content editor who will be able to train and guide them along. They need to have a proactive inquisitive nature, an eye for detail and an interest in all things digital, as well as being a good writer.

If you think you could help I would be very grateful – they don’t need to be a student however it is a junior role and therefore the pay would reflect this. There is obviously massive opportunities to develop and be promoted.


Thea Mallett



Success story: Alex Pullin (PR graduate 2006) now at LEWIS PR


How did we get here?


- Electronic media is not new: Reuters, 1850s; BBC Radio, 1920s; BBC TV 1930s

- Have you visited the new Experience TV gallery in Bradford?

- Digital media (ie computer-coded data) is new

- All PR is ePR (ie we use telephones, email); what's new is social media

- Core internet technologies date from 1960s (eg hypertext; ARPAnet)

- World Wide Web dates from 1989-1990, invented by Tim Berners-Lee

- Key technologies: HyperText Tranfer Protocol (HTTP), HyperText Markup Language (HTML)

- Key concept: Google PageRank

- Key text: The Cluetrain Manifesto - 'markets are conversations'

- Latest development: the semantic web (Wikipedia entry)



Three phases of the web

1. The age of Surf (eg Yahoo web directory)

2. The age of Search (eg Google)

3. The age of Syndication (eg RSS, Internet Explorer 7)

Source: Scoble and Israel




Two models of web publishing

Web 1.0 Web 2.0
Publishing Participation
Stickiness Syndication
Brochureware Blogs
Content management systems Wikis
Britannica Online Wikipedia
Directories Tagging
Domain name speculation Search engine optimisation
Netscape Google


Source: O'Reilly What is Web 2.0?


Two models of public relations

PR 1.0 PR 2.0
Media relations Stakeholder communications
Awareness Acceptance
Tomorrow's headlines Sustainable success
Product promotion Discussion of issues, trends
Mass targeting Micro targeting
Press clippings analysis Attitudinal research
Persuasion Conversation


Source: Richard Bailey


Issues for corporate communications


What's the role of PR in the Web 2.0 world?

- Is the traditional press release dead?

- Are the risks to corporate reputation less or greater today?

- Challenge of moving from mass media to masses of media, even me media


Can we control information?

- Could we ever prevent leaks or factory-gate gossip?

- Is the scale of challenge greater given the porosity of online information?

- Is PR about 'command and control' or should it encourage conversations on issues?


What does Web 2.0 mean for newspapers?

- Advertising is migrating to the web (eg Craigslist)

- Google is now a media company, but with no journalists (eg Google News)

- Print is not enough: Guardian now has blogs, audio posts, podcasts, video: in a word mashups

- What does the decline in print journalism mean for PR?


Does blogger relations replace media relations?

- Yes, if blogs have reach and credibility with target audience

- Otherwise, new media complements - but doesn't replace - old media (think radio, TV, internet)

- Blogger relations complements media relations (as does eg analyst relations)

- See Tom Murphy's PR hype cycle


Should the chief executive blog?

- Issues with 'disclosure' for public companies

- Rare example of a good CEO blog: Sun's Jonathan Schwartz

- Warning from Seth Godin: Beware the CEO blog

- Advice from Debbie Weil: What should the CEO blog about, and why

- Advice from Antony Mayfield: Should your CEO blog? That depends on them

- Boyd Neil, Hill & Knowlton: Should senior executives blog?

- Why CEOs should learn to love the blog The Guardian, 17 November 2006

- Is VC Reflects a CEO blog?


Should we prevent employees from blogging?

- There should be guidelines on blogging where the company is named and blogs are part of its PR strategy:

- Yahoo! employee blog guidelines

- IBM blogging policy and guidelines (pdf file)

- Edelman Managing employee bloggers (pdf file)


Should our blogging be transparent?

- When blogs put brands at risk, Financial Times, 8 November 2006

- Buzz off! this blogger's voice is not for sale Media Guardian, 20 November 2006

- Anti-astroturfing campaign

- Edelman, Wal-Mart flogging campaign

- WOMMA code of ethics


Should we police our Wikipedia entry?

- How clean is an 'open source' encyclopedia?

- Self-penned entry (eg Tim Mackintosh-Smith)

- What about protecting your reputation? Leeds Metropolitan University

- Wikipedia's five pillars (including 'neutral point of view')


Last thoughts: challenges for PR graduates


- Are you networking (online and offline - eg CIPR)?

- Are you a 'digital native' who can offer new skills to employers?

- Check your 'Google juice' (eg Stephen Davies, Chloe Chaplin)

- Google

- What is your online reputation? The College Student's Guide to Managing Online Reputation (pdf file)

- Beware! This may be an instant publishing medium - but it's not a disposable one


What tools are needed for PR 2.0?

- All traditional skills (eg research, writing, networking, media relations), plus:

- Social media knowledge (eg Digg; del.icio.us; Flickr)

- New research tools (eg Technorati; Google News; Google blog search)

- New information gathering tools (eg Google reader or Internet Explorer 7)

- Search engine optimisation awareness: Blogging your way to the top of the search engines

- Some social networking experience (if you can't do it for yourself...) Go on, edit this page!



Bailey, R New media sources on PR Books

Bailey, R Guidelines for PR student blogs

Phillips, D ePR lectures


Thank you for listening (and participating)

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